The Life of an Aspiring Innkeeper ….

Here we are six months into our new life as “Innkeepers” of Abigail’s Bed and Breakfast Inn . How are we feeling – well pretty good to date I must say! I shall need to re-read this blog at the end of the next six months I think.  Today I am sitting on the front porch of Abigail’s watching the world go by and trying to put “pen to paper” or in this case “fingers to computer”. It is such a wonderful day today. The sun is shining, the mountains in the distance are turning green and have a faint haze upon them. I heard a bird singing outside my window this morning at 6 am, the first I have ever heard so all my bird feeding must finally be paying off. The trees are now beginning to sprout their greenery and the cherry blossom has gone only to be replaced by russet colored leaves. Our spring bulbs have blossomed and the tulips are lifting their heads. Lets hope the “pesky” deer do not eat them before they have chance to realize themselves. The wild poppies are bright yellow in the sunshine. I always knew that this front porch would be a great place to sit one fine day and just wallow in the fact that Abigail’s is all ours!

Well that being that and today being Friday our garden crew have come to top dress our beautiful garden with lovely thick black, fresh smelling, organic topsoil so that in another month or so our garden will be a sight for sore eyes and a great place to relax and enjoy Ashland, Oregon

 Although we re-opened in February after a two month shut down for us to titivate we had a fairly quite start to the season. The odd guest here and there but not much happening. Definitely a good time for us to start adjusting to getting up at 6 or 6.30 am depending on the amount of guests we have staying over or just how experimental my breakfast is going to be. March on the other hand has been a completely different month. We anticipated a few bookings but certainly not as many we have had and to be honest it has been a delight to have the house filled once again with laughter, life and people. I thought I might give you an insight to our day which at times can be filled with humor and at others stress. But would I change it –  definitely not!

Generally I “burst” out of bed (ha,ha) at 6 am or maybe 6.30, again depending. Stumble through to the kitchen put the coffee on and then head back to get ready for the day! Lemon lies languishing in bed until I rush back through to the kitchen. The one good thing about this fact – is that he gets to make the bed. I open windows, pull up blinds, turn on lights, wish Abigail’s good morning and then turn my hand to cooking. Now this can be a good day or a bad day – my food is like my mood very temperamental. I have days like today when I just knock it out of the kitchen and then other days when I look at what I have prepared and find the meal wanting. Needless to say that by 9 o’clock I am ready and waiting for our guests.

Today was a great day – I baked croissants as a back up plan for my first ever Crustless Coconut Tart, which I might add was a winner. I served this with fresh sweet, plump raspberries and a cream cheese parfait and toasted coconut. My main course was a beautiful light, fluffy golden brown Goats Cheese Souffle topped with Creme Fraiche served with Chicken Maple Sausages wrapped in Bacon along with a small Arugula, Tomato Salad drizzled in Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar. Oh my souffles played to my tune this morning – they rose and burst with a small pop in the oven and then stood proud and plump whilst I served them. So with some beautiful teas to choose from and the wafting smell of freshly brewed coffee Abigail’s awoke. As for my bad days and little flops, well just lets say that what happens in the kitchen stays in the kitchen.

Our guests sit at a communal table unless they specifically request otherwise. I thought that when we first started at Abigail’s I might do away with this seating arrangement, but after much researching and questioning of our guests it would appear that the attraction of a communal table is what draws people to stay at a Bed and Breakfast Inn. People who come to Ashland come with the intention to go to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and this then leads to conversation at breakfast. It certainly makes for a lively start to the day and over the course of the next few days the house definitely seems to get friendlier the more that people meet and mix at that communal table. So once breakfast is over our guest go their merry ways, either home for some and for others a days outing to the theater, town or one of our many wineries in the area. Of course hiking, rafting, shopping and so much more keeps them busy throughout their stay!  Once we have bid them all adieu Adam and I get down to the chores. I finish the kitchen cleaning, put the dishwasher on. Rush up to the rooms and depending on how many “tidies” we have or “changes”, I arrange with Mariah our SOU student for the season to come and help me. We strip beds, open windows, make beds, clean bathrooms, fluff and puff, hoover and leave the rooms spruced and waiting for our next guest. I love to leave a room waiting and ready, often I will stand at the door to one of the Abigail’s and just hope that the next guest gets the same feeling of satisfaction that I get when I see the room set. I then head on down to do the laundry. Meanwhile back at the “ranch” Adam sorts out the downstairs area for me and then attends to the gardens needs for the day. If I have any plumbing problems or any such issues that’s for Adam to deal with. Not a natural born handyman I have to take my hat off to him – he faces each problem or challenge with enthusiasm and bluster. Sometimes he beats the odds and wins and at others well what can I say?  We normally finish our morning at about 1 pm / 2 ish, again depending on our rooms and turnovers. Once all is done we put on our walking shoes then and take a brisk walk into town. I am happy to see what is happening in town, already I see the tourist crowd growing, the plaza is getting busier, the restaurants have put out their “outside tables,chairs and umbrella’s”. The line grows daily at Zoey’s as more and more people want an ice cream treat. The backpackers are growing in numbers and the buskers are out and about performing arts or playing instruments. Lithia Park is a meeting place for passers by. What a buzz and what a lift to my day I get on these outings. We head on back to Abigail’s for an hours feet up and then wait for our new guests to start arriving from 3 pm. I love to fill the house at this time of the day with the smell of baking – fresh scones, chocolate brownies, cranberry cookies, tea cake – whatever takes my baking whim that day. Adam checks our guests in and I have to say that I am shocked at his greeting abilities. I would have never have taken him for a guest greeter, but now that I have seen him in action, I take it all back. He loves it. He loves the opportunity to meet people, chat to them, let them know all about the house policies and idiosyncrasies. He talks about Ashland and what it has to offer as if he has lived here for years and not just the last six months. The menus come out, the latest brochures are paraded before eyes and directions are given in a whirlwind. You need to see him in action to believe it. Before we know it its six o’clock and most of our guests have checked in. We may have the odd late check in but fortunately it does not happen too often. Time to do one last check before I cook dinner and finish the laundry. Make sure that all is fine with our guests for the night, before we put our goodnight sign out and check out for the night! Adam does a final check at about 10 o’clock, refreshes the hot water for tea, turns off lights, draws the shades and chases the “pesky” deer from the garden before we both head off to sweet dreams and deep slumber. Ready to wake for another busy day at Abigail’s.

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